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T Helper Type 1/T Helper Type 17-Related Cytokines in Chronic Hepatitis C Patients before and after Interferon and Ribavirin TherapyFathy A.a · Ahmed A.S.a · Metwally L.b · Hassan A.c
Departments of aClinical Pathology, bMicrobiology and cTropical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Suez Canal University, Ismailia, Egypt Corresponding Author
Amal Sayed Ahmed, MD
Faculty of Medicine, Suez Canal University
41522 Ismailia (Egypt)
Tel. +20 10 170 3125, Fax +20 64 337 8524
Objective: This study examined the T helper (Th) 1/Th17-related cytokines, interferon (IFN)-γ and interleukin (IL)-17 in the serum of biopsy-proven chronic hepatitis C patients before and after IFN and ribavirin therapy to address whether or not viral clearance is related to Th1/Th17 cytokines. Subjects and Methods: The serum levels of IFN-γ and IL-17 were assayed by ELISA on 26 patients with chronic hepatitic C virus (HCV) infection before the start and 3 months after treatment with pegylated IFN-α plus ribavarin and compared with sera from 15 normal control subjects. Results: IFN-γ and IL-17 levels are higher in the serum of patients with chronic hepatitis than in normal controls and these elevated levels were not directly correlated (r = –0.01, p = 0.96 for IFN-γ and r = –0.08, p = 0.66 for IL-17) to the viremic state of the HCV infection. In contrast to IL-17, IFN-γ showed significant reduction after 12 weeks of treatment with pegylated IFN plus ribavirin. However, IFN-γ and IL-17 serum levels were not significantly (p = 0.19 and = 0.70, respectively) different among responders and nonresponders for pegylated IFN plus ribavirin therapy. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that the combined treatment with pegylated IFN-α and ribavirin downmodulates the secretion of key cytokine IFN-γ as early as 12 weeks after treatment in infected patients. These findings could encourage new exciting possibilities for immune-based interventions with the aim of restoring functional antiviral T cell responses combined with improved viral clearance.
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